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For information on Wisconsin's rare vertebrate animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
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Conservation Biologist

Hine's Emerald (Somatochlora hineana)



Hine's Emerald (Somatochlora hineana), a Federal and State Endangered dragonfly, has been found in small cool calcareous marshy streams on bedrock. The flight period extends from early to late July.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Hine's Emerald (Somatochlora hineana). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.

Documented locations of Somatochlora hineana in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in WisconsinLE
State RankS1
Global RankG2G3
Tracked by NHIY

Species guidance

Note: a species guidance document is not available at this time. Information below was compiled from publication PUB-ER-085-99 (now out-of-print).

Identification: The adult Hine's emerald dragonfly is distinguished from all other dragonfly species by the following combination of characteristics: its brilliant, emerald green eyes, dark brown and metallic green thorax with two creamy-yellow lateral lines, distinct terminal appendages of the male and ovipositor of the female. Newly emerged (teneral) adults have brown eyes that turn bright emerald green after a few days. The wings are transparent with amber tinting at the base of the hind wing. Individuals tend to develop darker tinting on both pairs of wings as they become older. The wingspan ranges from 90-95 mm. The total length ranges from 60 to 65 mm.

The larva (nymph, naiad) is approximately 25 mm. in length and is light to dark brown when mature. The body is densely clothed with coarse setae (hair).

Habitat: Hine's emerald larval habitat appears to be cool shallow, slow moving waters (usually only several centimeters deep), spring-fed marshes, and seepage sedge meadows. Most larvae have been found in shallow water of narrow channels, as well as along edges of channel marsh. Exuviae have also been found in seepage sedge meadow. Larval habitat also includes sheet flow through spring-fed seepage marsh. The larval stage may extend from two to four years depending on local weather conditions. Larvae and possibly some eggs may overwinter. Adults usually fly over open areas of herbaceous vegetation and sometimes roads. Meadows and fields with scattered groups of shrubs near breeding habitat seem particularly attractive to feeding adults. Depending on weather conditions, the flight season extends from early July through August. Adults may live from 5 to 6 weeks.

State Distribution: Occurs in the northern half of Door County.

Phenology: After adults emerge they spend a few days feeding before they return to breeding areas. Males then establish and defend breeding territories (small areas of shallow water) by hovering and pivoting over the water's surface. As females approach, males pursue and mate with them. On her return the female lays eggs by repeatedly plunging the tip of the abdomen into shallow water. Metamorphosis starts to take place as the final instar matures. Mature larvae crawl out of the water onto nearby plant stems or anything providing support. The skin splits on the back of the head and thorax, and the adult emerges, leaving the exuviae behind. After a few hours, the adult is ready to feed. The larval stage may extend from two to four years depending on local climatic conditions. Larvae and possibly some eggs may overwinter. Adults usually fly over open areas of herbaceous vegetation and sometimes roads. Meadows and fields with scattered groups of shrubs near breeding habitat seem particularly attractive to feeding adults.

Management Guidelines: Development of the land by agricultural and tourist/recreational industries is of concern here. Pesticide use at apple and cherry orchards is a potential threat. Non-point runoff and groundwater to surface water recharge are possible vehicles for water quality contamination by pesticides. Being struck by vehicles kills adults.



Hine's Emerald

Male Hine's Emerald.

Photo by W.A. Smith, WDNR.

Hine's Emerald

Female Hine's Emerald with eggs.

Photo by W.A. Smith, WDNR.

Hine's Emerald

Male Hine's Emerald.

Photo © Vic Berardi.

Hine's Emerald

Photo by Kathryn Kirk, WDNR.

Hine's Emerald

WI has a vital role in the conservation of this globally rare, federally endangered, dragonfly. Several of its most important breeding sites are alkaline wetlands in Door County.

Photo by Kathryn Kirk, WDNR.

Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Hine's Emerald. Only natural communities for which Hine's Emerald is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Hine's Emerald. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of Hine's Emerald occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.

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Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

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Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

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Last revised: Thursday, December 22, 2022